He is actually more important to Canadians than a lot of living Prime Ministers and entertainers.  A guy who grew up so poor he had to share a pair of skates with his sister during the Great Depression  He played until he was in his 50′s and held almost every imaginable hockey record until the arrival of Wayne Gretzky.  Despite being an incredibly tough guy on the ice, most people who met him said he was actually pretty nice.  RIP Gordie Howe.
Attawapiskat makes $5,000 donation to Fort McMurray wildfire relief
First Nation struggle with suicide crisis offers $5,000 for fire relief in Alberta

A northern Ontario First Nation that has been dealing with a suicide crisis among its young people has raised money for Alberta wildfire victims. The Canadian Red Cross took to Twitter to say Attawapiskat chief Bruce Shisheesh presented a $5,000 donation to the Alberta fire relief.

The Red Cross quotes Mr. Shisheesh as saying, “We want to help.”


The youth wing of the NDP is calling for Justin Trudeau to resign as minister of youth:

Young New Democrats to PM: fire the youth minister

The youth wing of Canada’s NDP has issued a statement calling for the resignation of Justin Trudeau as the Minister of Youth:

“After repeatedly failing to keep his commitments to young Canadians, or address the important issues facing them, Canada’s Young New Democrats are asking the Prime Minister to step down as Minister of Youth and to find someone who will take the job seriously.

This past week alone, the Prime Minister doubled-down on handing out criminal records to young people for marijuana possession, he backtracked on fixing our electoral system, and he failed to put forward a plan to address precarious work. These are just the latest in a series of huge disappointments for young Canadians. This is not only about Liberal broken promises: this Minister has shown a clear lack of commitment to building the kind of country young Canadians need to succeed.

These disappointments come on the back of the Prime Minister adopting Stephen Harper’s unambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets which will not allow us to meet our international climate change obligations. When challenged by young people on these and many other issues, he scolded them for ‘bad behaviour’.

Justin Trudeau ran for office promising to bring real change and to put issues important to young Canadians front and centre – so much so that he took the portfolio on himself. It’s now clear that this was largely a PR stunt.

If the Youth Minister refuses to do his job, we think he should fire himself.”

Canadian Inuit leader wins ‘Alternative Nobel’

HELSINKI - Canadian Inuit leader Sheila Watt-Cloutier was selected Thursday as one of three winners of the 2015 Right Livelihood Awards — the so-called “alternative Nobels.”

The organization cited Watts-Cloutier for her “lifelong work to protect the Inuit of the Arctic and defend their right to maintain their livelihoods and culture, which are acutely threatened by climate change.”

She will share the equivalent of about $475,000 with Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera of Uganda for her struggle for gay rights and sexual minorities, and Italian surgeon Gino Strada for providing medical assistance to victims of war.

Watt-Cloutier, who was born in Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec and was a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, is listed as a member of the board of directors with the group Canadians For a New Partnership.

Watt-Cloutier served as president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada from 1995 until 1998 and was the council’s international chairwoman from 2002 until 2006. The ICC represents some 155,000 Inuit in Canada and other northern countries.

Watt-Cloutier’s numerous awards and 13 honorary doctorates include being made an Officer in the Order of Canada in 2006.

She is also the author of a book published earlier this year entitled “The Right to Be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet.”

The Right Livelihood Awards, announced in Stockholm, were founded in 1980 by Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull.

— With files from The Associated Press

By The Associated Press
Electoral Reform: How Canadians Can Contribute To The Debate
Canadians have a rare and precious opportunity to influence the future functioning of our democracy, both in terms of citizen representation and the balance of power that underpins day-to-day decision-making by our national government. This is a window of opportunity that, if squandered, may not present itself again for years to come.

Earlier posts in this series, available here and here, examine why Canadians need to participate in the upcoming national debate on how to replace our existing first-past-the-post (FPTP) system for federal elections. Canadians have a rare and precious opportunity to influence the future functioning of our democracy, both in terms of citizen representation and the balance of power that underpins day-to-day decision-making by our national government. This is a window of opportunity that, if squandered, may not present itself again for years to come.

The current government has consistently maintained its commitment to replacing our FPTP electoral system with a new system that reduces distortion and strengthens the link between voter intention and the election of representatives. It also compromised on its original proposal to have the composition of the electoral reform committee reflect that of the House of Commons – with Liberals holding a majority as is the norm – and instead accepted the NDP’s proposal to extend full membership privileges to the Bloc and Green Party and to structure the Committee proportionally, based on the share of votes each party received during the last election.

How can Canadians engage?

MPs have been asked to hold electoral reform town halls over the summer to consult with their constituents and feed what they hear into the parliamentary committee. Canadians can proactively alert their MPs to their interest in participating; this simpletool makes doing so easy.

The Electoral Reform Committee has also extended an invitation to Canadians with instructions on how they might participate. The deadline is October 7, 2016. Canadians may request to appear before the Committee, submit a written brief (maximum 3,000 words, including the summary and footnotes) and participate through use of Twitter.

For written briefs, the Committee recommends highlighting any recommendations that support the principles for electoral reform set out in the Committee’s Mandate. For those who want to participate via Twitter, Committee members will monitor Twitter (#ERRE #Q) for comments and questions from Canadians. Members may relay these questions to the witnesses in real time.

It is in every Canadian’s best interests to fully engage in the process of deciding how our country’s electoral system needs to be modernized for the future.

On July 6th, Minister Maryam Monsef announced the launch of a comprehensive set of resources to help Canadians engage in the national dialogue on electoral reform. Among the resources provided are a series of materials that provide high level information on how our existing FPTP and other broad families of electoral systems work as well as how to prepare to attend an event or host a dialogue.

While keeping up-to-date during the summer months may present challenges, regular social media updates provided by civil society organizations like Fair Vote Canada (Fair Vote Canada Facebook, Fair Vote Canada Twitter) and Leadnow (Leadnow Facebook, Leadnow Twitter) are a simple way of keeping track of major developments. Canadians who wish to follow the Committee’s work may also do so bywatching committee meetings or visiting the Committee’s website. Of course, social media aficionados already know that searching for the hashtag #ERRE #Q provides lots of up to the minute information on who has been saying what.

Why is this something that youth, in particular, need to engage in?

One of the early findings from the recent Brexit vote is that a portion of the population in the UK – most notably young people – were under-represented in the overall number of votes cast. There is much speculation as to possible causes for this and, as time unfolds, more may be learned about the extent to which UK youth were, in fact, under-represented.

It is in every Canadian’s best interests to fully engage in the process of deciding how our country’s electoral system needs to be modernized for the future. Between now and December 1st, when the electoral reform committee’s report is due to the House of Commons, we should all avail ourselves of every opportunity to discuss the problems caused by our existing FPTP electoral system, and support each others’ learning regarding what is possible for the future.

As with the UK Brexit example, Canadian youth will need to live with the electoral system that ultimately emerges from this process for much longer than older Canadians. Their informed engagement is critical to ensuring they reap the degree of influence they want to have –as citizens – over how future governments function.
Alberta toughens distracted driving penalties; demerits to be added to fines
Tougher penalties for distracted driving in Alberta are going to include demerits come Jan. 1.
By Staff

 Tougher penalties for distracted driving in Alberta are going to include demerits come Jan. 1.

Fines went up to $287 after new legislation was passed by the previous Tory government last spring. But demerits still had to be approved by cabinet.

Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP government has now done that, so drivers who get caught not paying attention will get three demerit points on their record.

Distracted driving includes using a hand-held cellphone or GPS, as well as reading, writing, eating or personal grooming.

Disappointing news. The Liberals killed a good bill by NDP MP, Fin Donnelly which would have protected Wild Salmon in BC by switching salmon farms from open to closed systems. There’s a lot of serious problems with open net fish farming (sea lice can escape and be exposed to wild salmon, pollutants entering the ocean, etc).

The bill was even endorsed by William Shatner, David Suzuki (and other scientists), and local First Nations.
Peterborough mosque hit by arson reaches $80K crowdfunding goal
A crowdfunding campaign to raise money for repairs to mosque in Peterborough, Ont., that was damaged in a deliberately set fire last weekend has hit its goal of $80,000.

(Nov 16 2015)
5 questions about the new Canada Child Benefit, answered
Is your family among the 90 per cent the Liberals say will be better off when the new Canada Child Benefit rolls out on July 20? You're about to find out.

The Liberals promised during last fall’s federal election that nine in 10 Canadian families would be better off once their new child benefit package rolls out.

Significantly better — to the tune of $2,300 annually, on average, according to the finance department’s calculations for the 2016-17 benefit year.

Is that really true?

On July 20, Canadian families will find out exactly how much their new monthly payments will be.

But assessing the full impact of the new Canada Child Benefit (CCB) may take longer.

Here are some things to know about the new monthly child benefit:

How much will families receive?

When the federal budget came out in March, the finance department put out a simple calculator.

Since then, the Canada Revenue Agency has added a more complex calculator for all government benefits. It requires inputting more information, but calculates a more exact figure.

For lower-income households, the CCB is billed as a game-changer. Finance Canada says the CCB will lift 300,000 children out of poverty, compared with 2014-15 figures.

Here’s why: families with less than $30,000 in annual net income receive these maximum yearly benefits:

  • $6,400 per child under the age of 6.
  • $5,400 per child aged 6 through 17.
  • An additional $2,730 per child eligible for the disability tax credit.

Roughly 3.9 million Canadian households received this letter last month, explaining how the child benefits system is about to change. (CBC News)

Families with higher incomes receive progressively less, until the CCB phases out entirely for the richest households. But the exact calculation of when that point it reached is a bit complex.

The number and age of children is a factor. So are all the components of a family’s adjusted net income, which is based on line 236 on your federal tax form.

A high-earning family with a lot of deductions may come in just low enough to receive some of the benefit. A single parent making the same individual income as a married parent may receive more benefits than the two-income household.

In calculating family net income for CCB purposes, the former Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) and Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) income are subtracted from your taxable income.

In other words: the monthly UCCB payments families received until now aren’t padding the income on which the new amounts are based.

Can’t wait for July 20 to find out the exact amount of the benefit? Anyone registered for an online CRA account can look it up now, based on a 2015 tax assessment.

Is this benefit retroactive?

No. Unlike the previous Conservative government’s rollout of its enhanced UCCB last July, there’s no lump sum retroactive payment dating back to Jan. 1 this time.

The legislation to create the new benefit only received royal assent to become law in June. But the federal benefits year begins in July, meaning programs are split over the calendar year anyway.

What’s been cut?

The revised benefit isn’t the only impact on a family’s bottom line.

The CCB is also meant to simplify things, so it replaces:

  • The UCCB, the current monthly child payments of $160 per child under six and $60 for kids between 6 and 17.
  • Canada Child Tax Benefit (an additional income-tested family benefit).
  • National Child Benefit (a supplement for low-income families).
  • The Conservatives’ Family Tax Cut — also known as “income-splitting for families” with children under 18, which significantly lowered the tax payable, up to $2,000, for families when one parent or guardian made significantly more than the other.
  • Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and Children’s Arts Tax Credit. These deductions worth up to $150 and $75 per child, respectively, are being phased out — cut in half in 2016, then eliminated entirely for 2017 and beyond.

Unlike the previous UCCB, the new CCB is not taxable income, so there will be no extra tax hit next spring. That means that even if your monthly payment amount has decreased, you may still be better off overall.

The cover of the federal budget in March was a bright, sunshiney yellow - and the outlook for the household budget of most Canadian families was bright too, Finance Minister Bill Morneau (right) promised. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Families have to do all the math — the taxes no longer paid, but also the credits no longer claimed — before drawing conclusions about whether they’re better off.

And don’t forget: the federal tax brackets changed last January. The middle income rate dropped from 22 per cent to 20.5 per cent, while a new tax rate of 33 per cent kicked in for incomes above $200,000.

How can I make the most of it?

The key to maximizing the CCB lies in minimizing a household’s net income. Any deductions that lower the amount on line 236 of the federal tax return will result in higher monthly benefit payments.

For example, people who don’t contribute the maximum to their registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) miss out on more tax-free CCB income.

Claiming costs like child care, moving expenses or union dues lowers the taxable net income amount as well. Keep those receipts.

What about Canada Post disruptions?

At time of writing, the risk of postal service disruptions this summer appears postponed, but not over.

In the event the labour dispute escalates, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has agreed to continue delivering the CCB cheques issued on the 20th of each month.

But the government encourages anyone who still receives benefits payments in the mail to sign up for direct deposit.


This Month in Headlines - November 1915

4 November - Greek cabinet resigns, creating a new crisis in the Balkans. Possible municipal tax in Manitoba to raise money for Patriotic Fund.

8 November - Snow stops street cars across City of Winnipeg, knocks out light, power, and water. Romanian-Bulgarian border watched by observation balloons as a new war zone develops.

12 November & 13 November - Full reporting of huge Winnipeg Parade of training and wounded soldiers appeared on the 12th, and a photograph of the event graced the front page on the 13th. Bulgarian battles and German spies also feature prominently.

20 November - “Canadians Whip Germans in Surprise Attack” heads the page, drawing attention to the report of Canadians fighting in the trenches. A photograph of Winston Churchill in uniform with his regiment is in the centre of the front page.

25 November - A plea from the Mayor of Winnipeg finds its place on the front page, begging people of the City to stop their “false hospitality” of providing “intoxicating liquors” to wounded soldiers, arguing that it is detrimental to their “delicate health”, owing to their terrible experiences in the trenches.


The ttp is going to be passed soon.
Omar Khadr can remove electronic bracelet, visit family in Toronto
Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr no longer has to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, and will be allowed to visit his grandparents in Toronto and speak to them in a language other than English, a judge ruled today.

Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr no longer has to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, and will be allowed to visit his grandparents in Toronto and speak to them in a language other than English, a judge ruled today.

Justice June Ross of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench also ordered the removal of monitoring software on the laptop computer Khadr uses for school. The software is interfering with the operations of the computer and Alberta Justice has been unable to help resolve the problems.

When Khadr makes the trip to Toronto this fall, he must travel with his lawyer and meet with authorities there, Ross ruled.

She called the conditions faced by Khadr “unusually restrictive.”

Khadr, 28, was released on bail in May pending an appeal in the U.S. of his conviction for war crimes, including the murder of an American soldier. He has been living in Edmonton with his lawyer, Dennis Edney.

Last week, Ross agreed to alter some of Khadr’s bail conditions to allow him to attend early morning prayers and a night class.

The judge said she wanted to hear from Khadr’s bail supervisor before considering his other requests. The bail supervisor said Khadr has followed all his bail conditions up until now.

Khadr had to follow a condition where he could only speak to his family in English and in the presence of a chaperone. However, his grandfather doesn’t speak English.

Khadr’s mother and one of his sisters made pro al-Qaeda remarks in the past. But Khadr’s lawyers say they aren’t even in Canada. He told the judge that his client is now mature enough not to be influenced by their views. ​

The Crown argued last week that it is in the public interest for Khadr to keep wearing the monitoring bracelet. The Crown also opposed the visit to Ontario, but said if the request was to be granted, there should be restrictions on who Khadr can see.

Before his release in May, Khadr spent 13 years in prison, 10 at Guantanamo Bay.

He was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old after a firefight with U.S. soldiers, and accused of throwing a grenade that killed the American soldier.

In a plea deal that included his repatriation to Canada, Khadr pleaded guilty on Oct. 25, 2010, to murder in violation of the laws of war, attempted murder in violation of the laws of war, conspiracy, and two counts of providing material support for terrorism and spying.

He was returned to Canada on Sept. 29, 2012, to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Since Khadr’s release, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that if he were to go back into custody, he would be held as a provincial prisoner not a federal one.
Four Montreal officers arrested; one facing charge of obtaining sexual services
Two face charges including perjury and obstructing justice

Four Montreal police officers have been arrested, with two facing various charges including perjury, attempting to obstruct justice, soliciting and obtaining sexual services, Chief Philippe Pichet said Thursday.

Faycal Djelidi faces nine charges and David Chartrand four, Pichet told a news conference.

“Unfortunately, police officers committed reprehensible acts and as a police organization we have to intervene and do our job right to the end,” he said.

The other officers were not named and no charges were announced against them.

Pichet said the probe began last December after irregularities were noticed with regard to the control of informants.

He said the force tried to address the problems at the administrative level before launching an internal investigation.

“Protecting our sources and our criminal intelligence is crucial and a constant concern for us,” he said.

He said nobody was currently in danger due to the officers’ actions.

Djelidi and Chartrand are each charged with perjury and obstructing justice, while Djelidi is also charged with breach of trust, soliciting, and obtaining sexual services.

Pichet said he was disappointed by what happened.

“Nobody is above the law and police officers are no exception,” he said. “This is a deplorable situation and as police officers we all feel concerned when one of our own crosses the line.”

The two officers, who worked as investigators in a multidisciplinary and youth co-ordination unit, have been suspended without pay.
Suspect arrested after women wearing hijabs threatened with noose at Edmonton LRT station
Police say suspect told women: 'This is for you.'

Edmonton police have a suspect in custody in regards to a possible hate crime that occurred at the University of Alberta LRT Station last month.

Police made the announcement Tuesday, one day after issuing a photograph of the man to media.

According to police, the man, believed to be in his 60s, approached two women wearing hijabs, pulled a rope from his pocket, tied a noose, and said: “This is for you.”

The man then proceeded to sing O Canada, which was caught on video by one of the women, police said.

Police thanked the public for helping the Hate Crimes Unit with the investigation.

Further details will be released when they become available, police said in a news release.